By Mary Bubala

DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ)—A big announcement from the Ravens. After 15 years in the NFL, six-time Pro Bowler Matt Birk is retiring.

Mary Bubala has more on why he decided to announce his retirement at a local school.

The Ravens center doesn’t really like to be the center of attention so he chose to make his announcement doing something very close to his heart:  helping children learn to read.

His shirt said it all: “finish everything.”

And Friday Ravens center Matt Birk did just that– announcing his retirement after 15 seasons in the NFL.

“To have the honor of playing here for four years and playing under Coach John Harbaugh and his staff it was truly an honor and to cap it with a Super Bowl win,” Birk said.

Birk, a Harvard graduate, made the announcement surrounded by students at Battle Grove Elementary School in Dundalk, where his Hike Foundation will build a new reading center.

And that was part of another special announcement for a student he formed a special bond with this year: fifth-grader Larry Bryant.

“We are going to put your name on it OK? We are going to call it the Larry Bryant Reading Oasis, so kids who come through here after you will know about you and how special you are,” Birk told Larry.

“It feels awesome, like awesome,” Larry exclaimed.

Birk says he will miss these moments but can’t wait to spend more time with his own children.

“I have six kids, and it’s just time. I have really enjoyed football, and I got to play for a long time. I have been very fortunate, but I just feel like it’s time to do something else,” Birk said.

Birk says he informed Harbaugh of his decision on Thursday.

He says he will continue to advocate for player safety and someday will donate his brain to science to further research into concussions.

To read more about Birk’s career accomplishments click here.


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